Vinod Gambtoo’s IELTS Speaking Conjecture, Part 6

  1. Describe a time when the weather changed your plan.
  • When this happened
  • Where you were
  • What kind of weather it was
  • Explain why you could not finish the thing
  • What you did in the end
  • Well, I remember awful weather prevented me to attend my class last year
  • I’m studying in Bangalore, and my mom came over to see me for a few days
  • I thought to accompany her on return and to have a couple of days with my whole family in Mumbai
  • Therefore, she and I planned our itinerary in a way that we would be flying on Friday evening, and I would be returning on Sunday night so that I could attend my school on Monday morning
  • Everything went ahead as planned, but it started pouring on Sunday morning
  • Mumbai, at times, receives unprecedented rainfall, but this time it was beyond my imagination
  • The city received over 400mm rain in just 10 hours, and it was like, the entire city was submerged in water. I wanted to brave the weather but then decided against it as I could see from my balcony that many cars were swimming on the road
  • I remember waiting for the sun to break through the clouds and water to recede (=abate, decrease) but in vain
  • Eventually, I had no chance but to cancel my plan to go back to Bangalore. In any case, flights were canceled on that day, so even if I wanted to fly, I couldn’t
  • It was frustrating because I had an important class to attend that day and missed it
  • As soon as the weather let up (=abate, lessen, decrease), I flew back on the following day

Follow-up questions:

  • Where can people get weather reports?

There are several sources from where you can always get the weather updates. People regularly listen to weather forecasts on radio and television. But this habit seems to be getting obsolete as smartphones also give you instant weather forecasts these days.

  • How do weather reports affect people’s life?

It does a great job, in fact. Perhaps in India, it may not be very much useful because it doesn’t snow here. But I think people in Europe and North America cannot do without it. The weather in those parts of the world is extremely unpredictable. In my country, more than flurries, we are concerned about fog in winter, especially in North India. Some cities and states in North India get covered in a thick blanket of fog. And, it’s really scary when you drive while clearing those patches of fog.

  • What do people do on rainy days and sunny days?

It rests on what kind of personality you are. If I’ve to deal with rains, I will be blooming like a peacock. I love getting drenched in the rain. But some people hate it. I love sunny days in winter because India has warm weather throughout the year. And, at times, the sunshine is harsh on you. If you see my arms, they are tanned because of the harsh summer. In a nutshell, the bright weather with some sun during winter is always welcomed.

  • Has climate change affected your country?

Yes, I think so because I can witness extremes of the weather for the last some years. Sometimes it rains heavily and the other time, it hardly rains. And the same goes for the winter season. It feels chillier than what it was some ten years ago. In short, we have been experiencing both the worst worlds of the weather.

  • Does the weather affect your mood?

Yes, it does greatly. I think this applies to all humans. Anything extreme puts you down. I mean too cold or too hot, both are undesirable. As far as I’m concerned, I can’t stand with the hot weather and feel like killing myself during the hot summer. It kills my productivity and creativity also, whereas pleasant weather pumps you up, and you feel going out and explore the world or hang out with friends. In extreme weather, you feel being at home or office and decide not to brave the weather.

2. What would you like to change at the place where you live?

  • How you can do it
  • What obstacle you could face
  • Why you want to make this change
  • There are many things that I want to see them changed where I live. But I think I cannot cover all of them today in this speaking session
  • Let me pick the one issue for this question. We’ve a large garden nearby, and it’s one of the most visited parks in our vicinity (=neighborhood, proximity)
  • However, whenever I visit this park, I always feel that the municipality could make this garden much better than what it looks now, but it never happens on its own
  • Therefore, one day I decided to gather some people and collectively approach the authority and pressure them to beautify this park. You know what? The municipality receives an abundance of funds every year to maintain and beautify this park, but these corrupt and unconscionable (=unethical, preposterous) people take away our hard-earned money for their personal use
  • First, I started to visit this park every morning and evening and made friends. I mean I talked to everyone for a few days, and gradually I convinced them to unite for this cause. In three-month time, I managed to gather more than 150 park-goers and collectively we jotted down improvements that we want to see in the park
  • We voiced our disagreements and appealed to the municipality to spend money on beautification and installation of some amusement rides for children
  • In the beginning, nobody bothered our request and were unmoved. Such thick-skinned people they are!
  • But we kept on building pressure on them by writing emails, posting dirty spots of the park and broken amusement rides on Facebook, posting pictures on Twitter, and whatnot
  • Eventually, they realized that this movement was getting bigger and swung into action under pressure. We got whatever improvements done that we wanted then after
  • Now, you can see well-maintained jogging and walking track, the lake got the life, all new amusement rides for children installed, gazebos were repaired and refurbished, more new trees were planted for the future, and toilets get cleaned properly and attentively twice a day
  • After everything was done, I was proud of myself because it was something benevolent (=caring, benign) job for society. It’s our hard-earned money in the form of tax collection for the government, and these bureaucrats were enjoying their lives on our money. Plus, people of all ages deserve all the facilities in this park, and they were ignored for a long time

Follow-up questions:

  • What is the best place to communicate with people?

I guess all the places are good enough to communicate with people, but we’ve got to see that some places need to be noise-free. For example, we need to restrain our loud voice in religious places or libraries, or else people will be disturbed and annoyed. We’ve no right to harass people by promoting a noisy environment. Some people lack this basic discipline and behave as if they had always owned this world.

  • Why is it important to communicate with people?

We cannot live in isolation. You would have seen some people are courteous but aloof (=unresponsive, detached). We all are social animals and need interactions more often or you feel being jailed for no reason. Loneliness takes me on a drive, and I always need somebody around me. If there’s no one, pets fill that vacuum because, for many people, pets are their family members. I’m one of them.

  • Does technology impact the way people communicate? In what way?

Technology has changed our lives immensely, and it’s both positively and negatively. I’ll talk about its positives. Today, I can video chat with anyone in any part of the world at almost no cost. It’s cool. My girlfriend does video chat whenever she feels talking to me, and that’s the great innovation for connecting people. You’ve many popular texting apps on which you can share photos, hilarious snippets and forwards, and leave important messages if somebody is not available. Businessmen also use specific apps that are designed to address their needs. Overall, we can’t do without technology and communicating gadgets.

3. Describe the happiest day you had.

  • Where you were
  • Who were you with?
  • What you did
  • And explain why you think it was the happiest day
  • I guess it’s a difficult question to answer because there are countless moments we’ve in life when we feel the happiest on earth
  • But the good news is I’ve picked one from so many
  • I love pets, whereas my father doesn’t like to have a pet at home. Therefore, I had been convincing him to get me a dog for a long time, but he didn’t heed at my request
  • I don’t know what happened to my daddy all of a sudden. He surprised me by presenting a pup to me last year. It was just unbelievable, and I was taken aback (=bewildered, confused) to see my daddy carrying a puppy in his arms for me
  • I pinched myself to ensure that I wasn’t dreaming. But ‘no’, I wasn’t, and it was happening
  • I was also confused over the decision of my daddy that he didn’t buy any popular breed of the dog. Instead, he brought the stray puppy from somewhere. So, I thought of knowing his rationale (=explanation, reason) about it. He said, “He’s an orphan, and he was weeping by the road. The moment I heard him crying, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him”
  • This was amazingly a 360 degree U-turn of my daddy. He fell in love with a dog that was simply incredible. But, anyway, I love all dogs whether they are stray or not
  • The moment my daddy handed over the puppy in my hands, I was speechless and didn’t have words to thank my daddy for this remarkable gift
  • Apart from my daddy, everyone in the family was on the same boat. I mean they favored the decision of having a dog at home
  • I love dogs and cats very much
  • Anyway, so there was all cheering from my mommy, sister, and grandfather
  • We were fighting for naming him. Everyone has his choice of name, but in the end, everyone accepted the name that I chose for him. I named him ‘Piper’
  • Truly, I believed that unexpected things happen in life, and some surprises are simply superb and joyful
  • I felt like running around and dancing the whole day. And even when I’m describing this moment right now, I feel as if it had happened this momentous incident yesterday
  • I can say proudly that this was one of the happiest days in my life

Follow-up questions:

  • Do Indian people spend a lot of money on birthday presents?

Yes. It’s a new culture these days. Party inflation is a matter of discussion and arguments, and you could see this as one of the most debated topics. It wasn’t such in the past, but people not only give gifts to others on birthdays but they also get gifted in the name of a ‘return gift’. The money they spend in celebration of the birthday and gifting is overly dizzying.

  • What do Indian people do on New Year?

It all depends upon what kind of personality you are. The youth stays up late night and wait for the New Year, and at the tick of 12, they set off firecrackers and dance with friends. Boys and girls roam around the city yelling and enjoying. Some people don’t like to go out and enjoy, and they stay home and celebrate and welcome the New Year. In my family, we’ve dinner together with relatives, and every year the host changes. I mean if it were celebrated this year at my place, the next year would be at somebody’s place. So, roughly our turn comes once in ten years. 

  • Do you think we are happier than the people in the 19th century?

I’m not sure about it because happiness is a very subjective topic. For example, billionaires may have sleepless nights, whereas people without a roof over their heads have sound sleep. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the present and past. People with lesser means also know how to remain happy and are motivated in any condition. In a nutshell, I don’t believe in this statement.

  • Why childhood is the best time for most people?

It’s simple because you don’t have internal and external worries. Nor do we have lofty ambitions and ego! The more mature you become, the deeper you think about difficulties and critical times. At times, it’s unwarranted, but human behavior is such, and we can’t help it.

  • Do you think money can bring happiness in life?

Not all times, but to a great extent. It’s easier said than done, but money makes life comfortable. I would rather love to cry in a Lamborghini Gallardo than to cry in an open public place.

  • What do you think is important in bringing happiness?

The most important part starts with ‘US’. Some people face all critical situations with a grin and make it inconsequential (=insignificant, negligible). At the same time, some people have a habit of grudging every tiny thing, which may impact our lives. Such tormenting and complaining behavior put us away from happiness. Happiness is a state of the mind broadly. You’ve got to learn how to navigate through turbulent times of your life.

4. Describe a film you watched.

  • When and where you watched it
  • What the movie was about
  • Why you chose to watch it
  • How you felt about it
  • Watching movies is very much a part of our lives, and there’s no question about it
  • Fortunately, we’ve options for watching movies in cinemas and at home these days. This was not the case in the past
  • I remember watching one of my favorite movies named ‘Skyfall’ with my friend in Toronto last month. It’s an old movie, which first released in 2012. But I like this movie very much, so my friend and I decided to watch it again
  • It’s a movie about a fictional MI6 agent, James Bond. James Bond character is popular all over the world, and I’m sure everybody must have grown up watching this character
  • ‘Agent down’: You hardly hear this word in the Bond movies, but in this movie you see the first Bond being shot and almost died and resurrected
  • It’s a pure thrilling movie. An ex-MI6 agent steals a computer hard drive with top secrets and carries out a vendetta on Bond’s boss ‘M’. ‘M’ is ‘Moneypenny’, who is a usual character as a boss of the agent in Bond movies
  • Then, you see the whole series of attacks on the headquarters of the British Spy Office, and their deep assets get killed by the order of the villain – ex-MI6, Javier Bardem
  • As usual, Bond goes after him to neutralize, and in the end, he wins but ‘M’ dies and many other undercover agents, too
  • I like most James Bond movies for some reason. They are packed with flyaway entertainment, cars with the latest technology, new gadgets, and those beautifully designed suits of James Bond
  • I also love the way Bond introduces himself and background music. What he says, “Bond, James Bond”
  • This latest Bond, Daniel Craig is superb compared to his predecessors (=former, ancestor) for many reasons. In old Bond movies, you would never see him bleeding, and they were slightly superficial on certain action scenes, whereas in the latest Bond movies they try to make it real. I mean Bond gets hurt, bleed, and writhe (=recoil, wince, suffer) in pain
  • I can binge-watch all Bond movies more often, and now I’m waiting for his new movie, “No Time to Die”

Follow-up questions:

  • What kinds of films are popular in India?

I guess it depends upon the characteristics of people who have certain preferences toward a specific genre (=category, kind, style – check pronunciation). Kids love cartoons and youngsters may love to watch movies that include romance or fantasy. So we’ve all types of movies, but these days, movies that deal with thrill, suspense, and action generally make the top. In the past, love stories were popular but now not anymore.

  • Do different age groups like the same kinds of films?

I doubt it. You know it’s a journey of life. I mean when we’re kids, we love movie genres, such as cartoons, mindless actions, and maybe fantasies. As we grow, we lean towards thrillers, comedy, and romantic movies. And during the 30’s and 40’s, again a bit of mixture that we prefer, and as we age further, we choose to watch different kinds of movies.

Yet I’m not sure about what I want to say because it’s hard to know the human preference with changing times. What you like now, you may hate it later, so it’s difficult to say that all people of different ages like the same kinds of movies.

  • What kinds of films do young people particularly like?

I guess they love movies which are on romance, comedy, fantasy, action, horror, and spy thriller. I’ve also seen people in their late 20’s taking interest in documentary movies. The youth, these days, prefer to keep abreast of (=to make sure you know all the most recent facts about a subject) what happened to certain stories, political nonsense, and episodes which were epoch (=era, time, a particular period in the past) incidents in the country’s history.

  • Do fewer people choose to watch movies in cinemas than people did in the past?

I will answer this question by coining a new terminology. It’s pre and post coronavirus time. Before the coronavirus struck in the world, people loved going to cinemas to watch their favorite movies. The big and widescreen makes sense when you really want to enjoy the movie. I personally love to go to watch a movie in the auditorium. But things changed after the outbreak of coronavirus in the world. People yet are scared to go to theatres, citing they might contract coronavirus. Therefore, it’s fair to say that it has changed a lot, and people no longer want to risk their health by visiting theaters. I guess cinema halls will be back to their glory once the fear of coronavirus is gone or vaccine is available. The other part of your question talks about yesteryears. I don’t agree with it. People in the past and present enjoy watching movies in the theaters.

  • What are other ways to watch movies now?

The OTT platform is in vogue these days. You can watch movies on Netflix and Amazon and also your TV setup box. You pay a yearly subscription fee on Netflix and Amazon and could watch movies of your choice at home. A similar facility is available with your setup box. Some people are members of recreational clubs, and they have an opportunity to watch movies on amphitheaters. We’ve an amphitheater in our society and watch a movie every weekend. It is cool.

  • What is the difference between American movies and movies from your country?

American movies are made with a view to reaching out to the world. You can see Hollywood movies showing in every part of the world, and there’s no doubt that they’ve a strong fan following, too. Hence, some of their movies are based on international stories, also. For example, they will spend billions of dollars to make a movie like ‘Troy’, which has nothing to do with the American culture, but it reaches everywhere. While it’s clear that most Indian movies are based on the theme of our country. Things are changing now, and I feel proud that the Indian directors are putting their efforts to make movies that could woo (=solicit, charm, caress) the global audience.

  • What do you think of violent films?

Well, all violent movies may not be as bad as we think. Sometimes we need to face the harsh reality of life. And it’s said that movies are a reflection of your society. I agree with this notion. For example, you see ruthless killing in a movie like ‘Uri’, but it’s based on true events. We must not forget that violence is also a part of our society. We don’t approve it, but we can’t sweep it under the carpet (=to try to stop people from finding out something wrong, illegal, embarrassing, etc. that has happened or that you have done). In this episode, we just need to see that children may not wrongly be impacted by watching such violence. Therefore, we need to enlighten (=educate) them with facts and rationale (=explanation, reason) after watching such movies.

  • Why do you think movies need computer techniques?

Can we imagine movies such as, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Bahubali’, ‘The Lion King’ and many more be possible without the use of computer techniques? I guess not. The best-animated movies and movies with special effects and cinematography cannot be completed without the intervention of modern computer technology. For example, the movie such as ‘Finding Nemo’ is an animated movie and one of the most popular, hilarious, and loveliest animated films of all time in the world. Children and parents loved it not only for its content and story but also for advanced technology that was put in use.

  • Do you think cinema will disappear in the future?

No, I don’t think so. It’s an integral part of our society for entertainment and unwinding.

  • Do you think (watching) films have educational benefits?

Yes, to some extent. Some movies are enlightening in different ways, especially the documentary movies. They offer a wide range of information for students and all. They also offer insight into how and where the world is heading in the years to come. For example, there was a movie called ‘I Robot’ that depicted how technology in the form of robots would intervene in our day-to-day life. People felt it humbug (=babble, balderdash, empty talk) then, but it looks that we are not far away from this technological evolution to happen sooner.

  • Do men and women like to watch the same kinds of films?

Hard to say that because all people are unique personalities with unique behavior. This statement could be right for some but not for all for sure.

  • In what ways are documentary films and films only for entertainment different?

Documentary movies offer realities that had happened, whereas ordinary movies are commercialized in nature to make money out of the fictional content and story. Therefore, there is a huge difference in both as far as the intent is concerned. I guess the audience knows this distinction before they choose to watch either type of movie.

  • Why do you think documentary films are not so popular?

Simply, it doesn’t cater to fictional content that viewers like to watch for entertainment. It’s more of a reality check with educational values. For example, I remember that we were made to watch a movie called ‘Too Big to Fail’ while I was studying the finance course during my MBA degree. The theme was based on the financial meltdown which took place in 2008. This particular movie was helpful for us while completing this course, but it’s not popular yet.

5. Describe an article on health that you read from a magazine or online.

  • What the article was
  • When and where you read it
  • What you learned from the article
  • Explain why you think it is a good or bad article
  • I remember having read a useful article on mental health while flying to Toronto from Charlottetown nearly one year ago in Canada
  • This article talked about mental illness that Americans went through in general and what remedies were available to stay healthy mentally
  • While reading this article, I came across some appalling facts and figures about mental illness that people went through not only in America but also elsewhere
  • It says that research shows that one in five Americans currently experience mental illness. That’s huge. It is nearly 44 million people we talk about, and if we extrapolate (=hypothesize, deduce) the same number around the world, it comes in over one billion people
  • This article was full of sensible facts, pieces of advice, helping avenues and whatnot
  • I liked this article because of some remarkable pieces of advice
  • In society, people who suffer from mental illness are stigmatized and shamed. Because of this hostile behavior towards these patients in our society, it affects their ability to cope with, solve problems, and adapt. It also affects them to be happy, well adjusted, and productive
  • They deserve a better life and peace of mind. It’s possible only when we support them and make them understand that their limiting thoughts only hold them back
  • Mental health is as important as physical health

Follow-up questions:

  • Why do different people like to read different magazines?

Every human is different and the way he thinks. Some people are interested to learn more about the people who they idolize, whereas others only mind their own business and concentrate their career. It’s simple. People come from different backgrounds, social strata, regions, countries, religions, castes, and creeds. Because of such diversity, preference, and taste for so many things including which magazine to choose will always vary.

  • What kinds of magazines do teenagers like to read?

Teenagers are more inclined toward reading magazines that talk about scientific research, innovations, music, entertainment, and popular personalities of the world. All children have their own heroes. Some idolize Steve Jobs or some may like to become a successful businessman like Mukesh Ambani. Hence, any piece of news about their lives is worth following for them.

  • What is the difference between the news on TV and news in magazines?

First of all, the news on TV is up-to-date, while news in the magazines could be stale. Magazines are focused on different genres, and in most cases, they confine to their theme and area of expertise. This is not the case on TV. They broadcast all type of news that takes place in our life every day.

  • Do people like to read news from the Internet?

This is the trend to dominate in the years to come. Spreadsheet newspapers nowadays look outdated. I guess nobody likes it but elderly people as they’re used to with them. Again, news on the Internet is not only updated but also up-to-the-minute. Plus, most people have smartphones these days, and they’ve instant updates and news on their palms. This remarkable feature of the Internet will crush other forms of news broadcasters and newspapers. More importantly, in most cases, it is free of cost. And we must not forget that our society is price sensitive.

  • Do people still buy magazines in your country?

I don’t think so. Most magazine houses are on the verge of collapsing, and many of them have shut their operations now. The Internet gave birth to many new industries, and at the same time, it killed so many, too.

  • Do you think people today are healthier than those in the past?

It’s arbitrary (=subjective), I guess. I assume that in the past, hardly people went to gyms to stay fit but their lifestyle was laborious with fewer comforts. This was an added advantage. For example, people used public transportation to commute in the past and that made them walk long, whereas most people own their cars and hardly walk now. In the present time, you will see the influx of gyms at every corner of the street, and people are more concerned about their health and diet but their lifestyle is sedentary (=inactive, idle). Overall, it is one and the same thing.

  • Why do magazines have health-related articles?

There is a section of people who is interested in learning about health-related articles. As I said that people nowadays are more interested to remain fit, and they love to maintain their fitness regime at any cost. Magazines have readers from all classes and ages with different preferences, so it makes them saleable with a pure commercialized motive.

  • How do people keep a healthy diet?

Countless apps are available these days to profess you about healthy diets. Some gadgets that offer valuable tips on health and your health analytics. These apps and gadgets are available as primary sources. They guide you on what to eat and whatnot. This is how people stay in touch with technology for their customized health-related needs. Apart from this, it’s a usual thing in our society to discuss topics on a healthy diet. Everyone has his say on the diet.

  • What kinds of foods are considered as unhealthy?

I think fast food is extremely unhealthy for everyone. Some people consider other foods that contain excessive sugar, salt, and oil. But fast food is a kind of poison and the irony is people relish it the most.

  1. Do people in India usually exercise?

Yes, I think so. People are more conscious about their health. To inspire them to be health freak, I guess there’s enough motivation in the environment. You have people talking about health and healthy food all the time, the bombardment of gym adverts and health supplements, plenty of diet plans are available on the Internet, and so many other things. More than making people healthy, it has become a big industry, so you see that impact on the minds of everyone.

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